This has been a banner year for squirrels in our backyard. Our dog has an extreme dislike for the creatures and I admit that I have developed a healthy distaste as well.
You see, they dig in my pots…they leave a trail of shells and earth behind them…they leave gaping holes in my planters and this year they have even taken to ripping off the leaves of my trailing strawberry plant.
Several years ago, I bought an aquamarine ceramic pot…a bit more expensive in my world but it happened to be 40 percent off and that made it doable. I loved this pot…any plant that found a home within its margins looked heavenly. Last year for some unknown reason, it developed a crack…not a huge one but just enough that I knew that it needed to be handled with care. I left it empty and even without foliage it still made me smile when I looked at it…somewhat discarded yet still lovely.
This year, I looked at it sitting unoccupied and decided that I would gently fill it with soil and sprinkle some nasturtium seeds and see if the pot would remain intact. A couple days later, I decided to see if the pot needed watering and I found that the squirrels had completely made a mess of my pot…there was dirt and seeds all over the place. I was a bit ticked and just left the mess to deal with later…but the next day, perhaps the squirrels had made a return visit and the pot was completely cracked in two…earth bulging out to join earth below…
Call it laziness that I never got back to discard the cracked pot but I didn’t…it was hot and then it was not…and the past few days have bought lots of downpours. I surveyed my backyard this afternoon and this is what I found and I let out a squeal of delight that would rival any little girl…
I hope you can see in these photos…several nasturtium seedlings…I wish you could see the one on the left side near the bottom of the pot…the seed is airborne yet growth is happening.
This has been a season that has felt like I have been cracked down the middle. A season that has been full of trials and triumphs…full of gaping holes and scoops of the good earth…unexpected messes and glorious surprises. Just when I feel that I can’t bear another mess…God steps in and causes sprouts of hope…seedlings of new life born out of seeming death and destruction. Paul was completely on target when he wrote the church at Corinth.
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!”
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”
II Corinthians 4: 7-12,16-18 (MSG)
I spent sometime reading I Kings 19 this week…pondering over the account of a very weary and despairing Elijah. I was impacted by how the Lord met him over and over again. Twice He sent an angel to minister to him with food and water. Once Elijah regained strength, he took off for a cave to hide…there he was blessed to behold the Lord in a gentle whisper…how sweet is that?! Twice the Lord asks Elijah what he is doing there? Twice Elijah expressed all that he had done and what was happening to him…all words that were true. The Lord does not rebuke Elijah, as he stood at the mouth of the cave, for his weariness or fear…he simply instructs him in what to do next…get some help…the load is to be passed onto another.
I wonder how often I look at the cracked pot instead of the Potter? How prone I am to complain about the overflowing soil and not the Creator of that soil? Do I believe cracks mar beauty? Have I forgotten that the God who is intimately acquainted with all my ways and allows messes into my life is the same God that can cause unexpected fruit in the midst of any situation and any condition?
My first instinct was to scoop up those fragile sprouts and put them in a more secure vessel. Courtney told me to leave them there…let’s see what happens…
Today I rejoice in being cracked…because in being split in two…God has increased the surface area for me to find Him…each Word is like a downpour on parched soil…be it the mouth of a cave or the newly expanded mouth of a pot…I can hear Him whisper my name…and I am whispering right back…I will stay in this cracked pot…let’s see what will happen.
Lord make me a seed that clings to your soil no matter the climate…no matter how impossible it may appear…no matter what…help me to be patient in waiting to see what happens…